Mark W. Hofmann's life is out of danger now, but he will likely remained hospitalized for some time, hospital officials said Tuesday.
The convicted murderer underwent surgery on his right arm Monday and came out of the general anesthesia satisfactorily. He was in fair condition in University Hospital.Discovered comatose Thursday afternoon in his medium security prison cell, he is recovering from an apparent self-inflicted overdose of anti-depressants.
The arm injury was thought to be caused by lack of blood circulation from lying in one place too long. Surgeons cut away dead muscle tissue and grafted skin from his thigh onto his injured arm, hospital spokeman John Dwan said Tuesday.
The operation Monday was the third he has undergone. The repeated sedation has made it difficult to determine if neurological damage has occurred.
"There are no indications of neurological damage at this point, but we have to wait to see his condition progresses," Dwan said.
Medical assistants reported Tuesday that Hofmann is talking coherently and is "polite."
His ex-wife, Doralee Olds, called Dwan Monday, inquiring about Hofmann's condition. She was unable to receive updated information because Hofmann's attorney, Ron Yengich, was out of town.
Arrangement have now been made so relatives may speak directly with physicians about Hofmann's recovery, said Dwan.
So far, prison authorities have permitted only Yengich to visit Hofmann, he said.
Security remains heavy at the hospital. Hofmann's feet and his uninjured arm are shackled to his bed. Two guards watch him constantly. His hospital unit has been sealed off.
Essentially, Hofmann's hospital room is an extension of the prison. Prison officials have control over the security and determine when he can receive visitors, said Dwan.
"We're not responsible for the security at all. If a prisoner tries to escape, then the hospital will let him go. Our responsibility is to treat the patient."
While Hofmann has received much media attention, there are usually a few prisoners being cared for under security at any given time, he said. Hospital and prison officials coordinate their efforts.
Prison officials are investigating the apparent suicide attempt. The possibility of the overdose being part of an escape plot has not been ruled out.
Hofmann received a five-year-to-life sentence after pleading guilty to the October 1985 bombing deaths of Steven Christensen and Kathleen Sheets and multiple fraud charges.
The Board of Pardons has recommended that the confessed murderer and forger spend the rest of his life in prison.